Welcome to The Weekend That Was, where we look at the big stories from the weekend in MLS and around the world.
Across The Pond
Chelsea smashed Arsenal 3 to 1 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier Leagues top billing of the week. Eden Hazard scored a particularly thrilling goal on a solo effort, running with the ball from midfield and slotting home. Their win, plus Tottenham’s 1-0 victor over Boro, means Chelsea still hold a nine-point lead at the top of the table. Manchester United continued their fine run of form easily dispatching Leicester City away from home. United are just one point out of the Champions league places. Meanwhile last year’s Cinderella story Leicester City are just one point above the relegation zone. From what I could find you would have to go back to 1938 to find an English champion that was relegated the following season.
Atlanta Making Moves
It doesn’t take a long look to notice a slight shift in the type of DP signing that MLS clubs are currently targeting. While the older, big name players from Europe were always attractive in many cases they were signed to put people in the seats and not so much about results. Per Dirty South Soccer, Atlanta, wrapped up their third DP signing this week inking a deal with Josef Martinez. Martinez is a 23-year-old Venezuelan international who has played in Switzerland and Italy. Martinez is a good example of that change in type of DP signing we may continue to see. While he may lack a household name like Lampard or Gerrard he is a young talent with plenty of potential to grow. While the signing is certainly a risk he will be one to keep an eye on this year in MLS play.
Over on the west coast the Galaxy continued their shakeup by signing 27 year old winger Romain Alessandrini to a DP deal as reported by LAG Confidential. Alessandrini is a pacy and tricky winger who had been playing in France for some time, most notably at Marseille. He will be tasked with providing some flair and helping the Galaxy get back to MLS Cup again. LA has had a bit of turnover this year but as usual they are looking to be in the thick of things and playing meaningful games late into the season.
January Camp Ends On A High Note
USA earned their first victory of 2017 against Jamaica this weekend. Bruce Arena’s side, largely built on MLS players, were fairly dominant throughout the game. However despite having the majority of the ball they rarely threatened the Jamaicans. Jordan Morris broke the tie open in the second half. He was a threat throughout the match and proved once again he is capable of scoring in any game. Walker Zimmerman of FC Dallas was particularly good at the back, anchoring a defense that was never quite troubled. The Fire’s new signing Dax McCarty was particularly good as well before coming off in the second half. He sat deep in the midfield breaking up opposition attacks and picking the ball up from the defense in possession.
Our First Look At The 2017 Fire
We are getting closer to the MLS season opener. Hooray! The Fire began their preseason preparations this past week and they took on Florida Gulf Coast University in a friendly this past weekend. The Fire came up victorious and you can find the recap put out by the Fire here. These are very early days and I would not urge anyone to take much stock into these games at all but its worth a shout. Nikolic scored the game’s only goal— it was a tap in, but hey he’s on the score sheet for the first time for the Fire. Hopefully there are many more to come. The Fire continues their preseason in Florida with another friendly this Thursday against the Union.